*New Book of Letters from Early U.S. Forest Rangers to First Chief Gifford Pinchot Reveals Model of Leadership, Good Government, and Environmental Stewardship*
As the 2016 election season enters its final six months, the public’s eye is drawn towards spectacle and away from pressing environmental problems that require a comprehensive strategy and management approach. In recent weeks, unprecedented wildfires, tornadoes, drought, gas leaks, and water contamination have made headlines affecting the lives of millions of people. Around the globe, inhabitants of low-lying areas wonder what is next. How will the world cope with these ongoing scenarios and organize itself for the next weather-related or environmental event?
In her new book, Author Bibi Gaston crafts a heart-felt narrative for challenging times, chronicling the early days of the American conservation movement while suggesting a service-based approach to environmental issues similar to the one that was created one hundred years ago when her great-granduncle, Gifford Pinchot, was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to run the newly created U.S. Forest Service. Having studied 5,000 pages of previously unpublished letters exchanged by Pinchot and the men and women who worked with him, Gaston has an excellent grasp of the significant challenges the early forest officers faced in tackling environmental problems while preserving and protecting public resources as Pinchot said, to serve the “greatest good for the greatest number in the long run.” Gaston says, “In the letters, we find that environmental issues were addressed through organization, careful listening, planning, education, and negotiation. That was the job of Pinchot’s forest officers, and it was no easy job.”
The author of /Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters: The Untold Story of the Brave Men and Women Who Launched the American Conversation Movement/, Gaston says, “Kindness, courtesy, and listening to one another went a long way, for example, in dealing with problems and conditions on the range, water conservation and wildfire suppression. Forest officers went above and beyond the call of duty to make peace, so did Pinchot, whose presence at various cattleman’s meetings was said to have turned rancor to understanding.”
Gaston concludes that it is important to turn to history to resolve conflicts between public and private land ownership. “In the past, we resolved disputes without delay, and without resorting to violence or rancor. How did we do it? We find answers when we need to, through caring and listening. Things were difficult, but more often than not, the parties walked away from the table as friends. Today, boundless energy and esprit de corps are the essential elements for resolving what appear to be intractable environmental problems. Mother nature requires that we listen to her and to each other,” Gaston says.
//Praise for Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters
“What a marvelous book Bibi Gaston has created about her great-granduncle Gifford Pinchot, Chief Forester of the U.S. Forest Service from1905–1909, and all his fellow forestry pioneers. Not only is it fascinatinghistory but also inspiration for our current desperate efforts to save theplanet’s remaining precious, carbon-absorbing trees and the rest of beleaguered nature—without which we and countless other species cannot survive for much longer. Pinchot’s idea says it all: Conservation is the basis of permanent peace. As we honor our environmental ancestors, they provide us with the courage and inspiration to do what must be done/.”/
Linda Buzzell, co-editor, *Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind (Sierra Club Books, 2009)*
*About the author *
Bibi Gaston is the great-grandniece of Gifford Pinchot, whom Teddy Roosevelt appointed to lead the US Forest Service in 1905. Her new book, published by Baked Apple Productions, is based on letters she unearthed from the Library of Congress that she carried with her for seven years. Gaston is a landscape architect whose first book, /The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries and Her Granddaughter’s Search for Home, /was published by William Morrow in hardback and Harper Perennial in paperback. Among the media outlets Gaston has appeared on are NBC, FOX Long Island Public Radio, and the nationally syndicated Contact Talk Radio Network.
For more information, Bibi can be contacted at www.firstforesters.com http://www.firstforesters.comor at firstname.lastname@example.org.